As the first and only supermoon of 2017 rose high into the sky this Sunday (Dec. 3), astrophotographers seized the opportunity to shoot the moon in all its bigger-than-usual glory.
A supermoon occurs when the moon's closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit happens around the same time that the moon is full. Sunday's supermoon reached its fullest phase at 10:47 a.m. EST (1547 GMT), but the moon didn't actually reach perigee — the point closest to Earth – until about 17 hours later.
With the moon approaching perigee, night sky photographers set out to shoot the big, glowing satellite this weekend. Supermoons can appear up to 14 percent larger in the sky than the average full moon, with the lunar surface reflecting up to 30 percent more sunlight. But for most skywatchers, the supermoon probably looked about the same as any other full moon. [Supermoon 2017 Photos by Stargazers]
While it may be difficult for casual skywatchers to notice anything unusual about the supermoon, astrophotographers can really make the supermoon shine: Longer telephoto lenses can make the moon appear especially huge against a backdrop.
In another optical-illusion image, photographer Jacob Zimmer captured an especially gigantic-looking supermoon on Sunday as it rose over the skyline of Tampa, Florida. Zimmer stood miles away on the other side of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida, to capture this impressive view of the supermoon.
Another astrophotographer, Gandhi Kumar, used the supermoon to create the illusion of a supermoon on a stick. Kumar photographed the supermoon near Boulder, Colorado.
On the West Coast, astrophotographer Kwong Liew captured the bright supermoon setting behind San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge early Sunday morning.
Even astronauts at the International Space Station had a chance to photograph the supermoon from a unique vantage point of 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. NASA astronaut and Expedition 53 Cmdr. Randy Bresnik shared a breathtaking view of the supermoon rising beside a cloud-covered planet Earth.
If you missed December's supermoon, don't worry — there are two more supermoons coming up in January, and one of them will coincide with a lunar eclipse.
Editor's note: If you capture a great shot of the supermoon or any other night sky view that you would like to share with Space.com for a possible story or gallery, send images and comments in to: email@example.com.
Email Hanneke Weitering at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.